2009 – Real time year

This article was written for a brochure published by Tipik. Thanks to them for letting me have a word in there !

For some it was fun, for some others it was less fun, even not fun at all. But for all of them, it was real-time.

Real time? You mean augmented-reality? You’ve all seen recently this Chocapic box you turn around to play a game. That’s real-time, you’re right, and that’s 2009. It began with weird shapes you had to print and show to your webcam to make some – even-weirder – monsters walk on your real desktop or fireworks come out of your screen.

That was the fun part.

Then Mickael Jackson died. Twitter too, by the way, but only for a few hours. That was the first not-fun-at-all part, and the main reason for this article: the web is now real time.

So what, it was not before? I could type in a URL and see things appear right away, I could even poke my friend and get his or her “LOL”, “ROFL” or “what the hell?” in return.

Of course it was, but the interaction and scope were limited. Hey, wait a second… I wrote “Twitter” and didn’t explain what it was.

Twitter was founded a few years ago (although it wasn’t really known until last year) and allows users to “micro-blog“. In short, it’s like posting facebook statuses but is limited to 140 chararacters. And the entire world is your community of friends.

So, I post 140 characters of pointless babble (yeah, 40% of tweets are pointless babble) and everybody in the world can read it?

That’s right, but there’s more: they can search for it. And that’s the interesting part of the story. Imagine millions of people posting millions of messages (6.8 billions of them actually, according to the latest statistics). Add a real time search engine on top of that and you are aware of what’s going on around you, right now.

“But I don’t care about the color of the socks this guy at the other end of the world decided to wear a few seconds ago”. Neither do I, and I’ll probably never know it because I won’t search for “socks”. Maybe I’ll search for “css”, “html5″ or my company name to see what people are saying right now about a trendy topic or the new product I’ve just launched.

Google and Bing understood this was a major step in the web evolution because they both signed a partnership with Twitter to integrate their content in their new or upcoming “real time” features.

Some new search engines are even dedicated to real time ressources: this is all good news for your brands, since a recent study showed brand websites were less visited in favor of social websites.

The dark side of the real time

This year added another brand new concept: “bad buzz”.

“Holy bee! I thought a buzz was always good!” Well, it was until recently. Now people discover terrible things on the web and they want to share their dreadful experience, real time.

The biggest bad buzz was Segolene Royal “desirs d’avenir” websi… um, thing. People are still talking about it.

The second bad buzz of the year was Proximedia “company of the year” prize. The datanews article comments exploded and you could have followed it real time if the search engines had been more mature.

Talking about maturity, this could be next year’s trendy topic! Bad buzz showed the web comunities can tell the difference between a good and a bad website, or a company with good or bad webdesign practices, which is a major but normal step in web evolution.

Crisis contributed to the web because advertising is slowly migrating from traditional medias to the web, or maybe the web is now considered as a traditional media?

See you next year!